Saturday, August 28, 2004

Transcribing the 1850

I'm a confirmed genealogy nut and have been since the age of 8.

It was about that time that my grandmother started doing genealogy, and while I didn't ever go with her when she did her research, I did get to look at all the "Family Group Sheets" that she shared with my mother.

I would sit and stare at them, trying to memorize the names, and then write out the family relationships in different ways on yellow legal pads.

First of all, FGSheets are a very limited way of looking at the information (thank goodness for genealogical databases!) and secondly I have a very complicated family - with an ancestor who married his uncle's granddaughter.

That's a complicated thing to "see".

Later, I got a Master's degree in History and worked at a State Historical Society as a librarian. That was a lot of fun, but I didn't start doing real research until a few years ago, and the advent of internet resources has completely facilitated my work. Without it, I wouldn't have much more than family stories, so I'm a big proponent of free, online genealogical resources.

So now I'm transcribing the 1850 Jackson Co., Missouri census for USGenWeb.

I've always wanted to do something, and when I noticed that not one single census year for Jackson County had been transcribed, I decided that that was what I had to. I have one line of my family in Washington and Kaw Townships, but they rest of them are strangers to me...

I've just turned in my first township, so I'm a bit nervous, I guess. It took me forever to do it because I'm such a perfectionist. Ah, well. No such thing as perfection in transcribing! But that doesn't mean I won't try...

You can see the images that I'm working with at Ed and Sandy Mackley's wonderful Missouri census images page, without which I would not be able to create my (soon to be searchable) transcription.

The most interesting thing I've found so far is a young man named "Fleury Fontenelle", born in Fort Laramie about 1834. He might be an undocumented son of Lucien Fontenelle, the famous trader. Lucien did have a son named Henry Fontenelle, but he is said to have been born in 1832 in Nebraska. That's not far enough "off" to discount the possibility they are one and the same, but it tends to support my thoughts.

So, I hope his name is Fleury. It's a common French name and seemed to be what I was reading. It did not look like "Henry" to me.

You can judge for yourself, if you'd like. He's on Page 230B, line 26.